Workplace incident reporting refers to the examining, recording, and managing of an incident an employee experienced. The incident can include any event resulting in security problems, property damage, or injury in the workplace.

The employee will traditionally need to fill in an Incident Report Form right after the event. Afterward, workers may also have to fill in some follow-up forms to assist in the investigation.

This helps ensure that the causes of the incident are thoroughly examined, ensuring such events are mitigated and prevented in the future. An incident reporting system is critical for all organizations, especially risk-centric companies, as they can avail the ensuing benefits of incident reporting.

Reasons Why Incident Reporting Is Necessary

In 2021,  2.6 million cases were reported concerning nonfatal workplace illnesses and injuries by private industry employers in the U.S. With incident reporting, companies can take measures to prevent accidents from reoccurring in the workplace.

Moreover, taking this measure optimizes the safety of all workers on-site, contributing to a shielded work culture. Documenting and investigating incidents further allows companies to avoid major accidents in the future. Organizations can also implement risk control measures as a retort to the event.

On the contrary, when incidents aren’t reported, there’s a high chance they’ll happen again. Analyzing an incident’s primary causes can help you formulate prevention strategies. So, even if an incident seems small, it should still be reported. Noting down small events can help to prevent the bigger ones from occurring. Unfortunately, two-thirds of workplace illnesses and injuries still go unreported.

Why Incident Reporting is Important

Workplace incident reporting as a process is necessary for an organization’s safety and health programs. Workers should properly compile safety observations, and management must ensure that the team reports the incident immediately. Here are the significant benefits of reporting workplace incidents:

  1. Management becomes aware of the significant issues occurring within the workplace, which can help them develop better processes and safer procedures for employees.
  2. Incident reports help create a better safety and health culture within the organization.
  3. It can improve other health and safety control measures, such as risk assessments and potential hazards.
  4. Safety observations that are identified and solved can prevent serious accidents.
  5. It saves resources and time that would otherwise be invested in dealing with serious accidents.
  6. It will enhance every worker’s well-being.
  7. It will allow organizations to follow through with safety and health regulations and protect them against non-compliance issues.
  8. Through workplace incident reporting, organizations can track patterns and trends better, discovering anomalies faster and more easily.

How to Manage Workplace Incident Reporting

Here are the steps you should ideally take when setting up incident reporting frameworks and safety document management:

  • Have a spreadsheet or database where you can store the incident reports to keep them documented securely and organized, making them easier to manage in the long run.
  • Establish a tried-and-tested process that helps you collect incident reports in a straightforward, accessible way.
  • Educate your staff on how to go about reporting incidents, training them on how to access and use spreadsheets or databases.
  • Regularly monitor incident reports and then analyze them for patterns that may indicate other potential risks of underlying issues.
  • Take immediate and appropriate action to address any and all issues using the data you’ve collected.
  • Use incident report software to document and track investigations

A very common incident report type is the safety incident report, where a worker faces an illness, accident, or injury. Luckily, due to electronic health reports, it has been easier to document incidents. Here are some examples of safety incident reports:

  • Lost time injury
  • Illness report
  • Workplace injury
  • Close call or near miss
  • Safety observation
  • First aid report
  • Medical treatment only incident

In Conclusion

Whether the workplace incident was adverse, unexpected, expected, or a near miss, it should be immediately reported to the relevant authority after it has occurred. This initiative will ensure that witnesses and involved individuals can quickly and clearly recall all details, making the report as accurate as possible.

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